On many levels, freight agent clients are no different than customers in any other industry. They want their needs met, they need to be treated fairly, and they crave predictability.
Sounds simple enough, right? However, it definitely takes a certain type of person to attract the right clients to increase freight business. It takes an exceptional freight agent, not just someone who is extroverted and great on the phone.
Independent freight agents with a special set of skills display these qualities that help them find and retain the right clients, or shippers:
Don’t Apologize for Your Honesty
Transparency and effective communication from a freight agent should be expected, but not every shipper feels that way. In other words, some customers prefer to be catered to instead of receiving frequent, frankly stated updates.
That said, a good customer with long-term value should want the truth, even when it stings — and should be able to react respectfully no matter what. Freight agents do themselves and their shippers a disservice whenever they hide the truth.
Use Knowledge to Set Yourself Apart
Many of the busiest, most heavily relied upon freight agents around focus on taking advantage of one key asset: industry knowledge.
The greatest differentiator in any field is the ability to learn from previous experiences and apply those lessons in future decisions. Matching certain carriers and specific types of vehicles to each shipping scenario is a science. When done well, everyone benefits and the agent stands out.
Make it Known That You are Trustworthy
Diligence about freight broker requirements is great, but if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it still make a sound? Freight agent clients want to know you have all their ducks in a row, so don’t be shy about finding a way to make your status known. Contingent cargo or shipper’s interest policy? Check. Professional Errors and Omissions Insurance? Absolutely. $100,000 bond? Sure thing.
Customer service is as important in the freight industry as it is anywhere else. Here’s a simple but true equation: Good freight agent clients plus reliable carriers and great service equals lasting business relationships.
If you consistently use carriers who deliver freight on time and without issues, shippers will keep coming back for more. Businesses don’t like messing with a good thing — especially when that good thing provides them with peace of mind.
Show Your Value to Shippers
Most organizations that need freight shipped also need proof that their shipping practices are cost-effective and yielding results. Any data you can provide to display return-on-investment (ROI) is a major boon for your clients.
The shippers that do their homework will find and continue to utilize the agents and carriers that operate with the most efficiency and save them the most money — and those are the type of engaged, conscientious and appreciative freight agent clients that you should covet.
Support for Growing Your Freight Business
If you’re interested in comprehensive support — from the back office to the load boards — for independent freight agents, take a look at Freight Tec’s next-generation model.